Kenstibec’s Twitter Story Part 2

Very pleased to present part two in Kenstibec’s Twitter tale, which ran in 2013/14 in the run up to the publication of Barricade. I was going to run another Twitter story in the run up to the publication of Steeple, but this year I had a day job to take care of as well, which made it darn near impossible. Still, it’s fun to revisit this tale, which was mostly dreamed up over lunch in the gloomy bowels of Barbican – this section of the story sees Cull TV introduced for the first time, and a couple of disastrous trips to other Barricades.  Enjoy!

  • Shersult wants to see me. Says he has a towing job for me. Heading over now.
  • They need a howitzer in Leeds. Might have to get inventive this trip – driver conference revealed extensive real border patrols to negotiate
  • Shersult uses something new to clear me a path – drops some kind of gas he’s been working on. I don’t stop to check how effective it is.
  • No Real fire as I clear barricade and head for open country. “I’m an artist” says Shersult over the radio. On my own now.
  • Things are getting strange out here. Open road all the way to Durham, then suddenly MGs open up from hidden positions. Get two in belly.
  • Forced to turn around. This route was open only a week ago according to other drivers. Cannon bangs along behind me, think it’s lost a wheel
  • This is interesting. I can’t find a way through. Camped near Real village, watching them go about their strange business. Thinking.
  • I have been watching a few Reals packing up a kind of trailer on skis. Looks like he’s getting ready to move out. I’ll follow.
  • Reals have only now stopped to camp. Must be exhausted. I’m going in to speak to them.
  • Rifle at ready.
  • My arrival caused a bit of excitement. Had to down 2 of them to create some order. A male and female remain. They have a route to show me.
  • We’ve struck a deal. I won’t cull them if they take me through a route they know through old Northumberland Park. Everybody wins.
  • Reals dazed. We come across familiar wreckage. So that’s what happened to Querena. 
  • 756100973
  • No sign of body. Probably decorating some poorly constructed Real shack. Not the best way to go, but it’s all part of cabbie life.
  • Real ideas about crossing border quietly seem to work. I tell them to stick with me the rest of the day to make sure they don’t raise alarm.
  • Eventful night. Male tried to run, so I had to cull him. Female still with me. Now we’re through border have to decide what to do with her.
  • She ran for it while I was making a repair. Fair enough. Onward.
  • Edge of Yorkshire Dales I nearly run headlong into a huge Real column that’s snaking over horizon. Orange glow from direction of Leeds…
  • Have a feeling one howitzer isn’t going to make much of a difference. I’d better stop and take a closer look.
  • Leeds is burning. Barricade looks breached in several spots. I’ll try and get in to help out. #nothingbettertodo
  • Ficials hanging from walls. Fires all over city. Camera crews film the carnage. Nobody left to help. I pop grenade in gun breach + leave it
  • Heading back over border the way I came. Definitely being followed. Every time I stop I hear straining engines in distance.
  • Making repairs in field. Couple of Reals on mopeds ambushed me, took an RPG on rear wheel. Got them easily enough, but I’ll be limping home.
  • Attacked again, by reals with northern tribal blue markings. Been pinned down all day. That’s proof then- tribes are working together.
  • Don’t know which has more holes, me or Landy. 48 hours beating off attacks. Think they’re Trying to take me alive? #justbeculleditseasier
  • Covering last distance on foot. This trip has been a Real waste of time.
  • Caught between Real lines and barricade. Both sides shooting at me and no radio to call in help. Think I might just have to take some hits.
  • Had to crawl in through the flood plain. Shredded to pieces by a mine but intact enough to find Shersult and demand a large tip.
  • Took a day to design a little never to be realised Edinburgh regeneration. Well, it might happen before the trams…
  • I’ll be spending the next few days looking for a replacement cab, so might be quiet for a while – it’s a serious business. #imissautotrader
  • Oh, and I’ve made a decision – I’m not crossing the border again without a guide. Way too sticky, plus I’ve had it with losing cabs.
  • Talk about a seller’s market. Can’t buy so much as a wrecked Fiesta for less than ten journey’s pay. Having to crawl back to Rick’s.
  • Best hope is he lets me pay off a new cab in installments. Either that or I am finding a new job. Or becoming a journalist.
  • Rick says he’ll see what he can do. In meantime i’ll need to find some new boots.
  • Good set of boots found. didn’t fit Real owner, but he made me chase him for them. Kept tripping over himself. #justbeculleditseasier
  • Highlights look much brighter over the city today. I can almost imagine sunlight on the castle.
  • Offered a trip with a journo from the TV. Cautious, but nothing else to do. Heading over tomorrow.
  • Journo is a male pleasure model. Asks me to take him out into seige positions for a documentary piece on Real society. I agree, needing cash
  • We’ll bring a few examples back with us for the cull report.
  • Journo provides transport – a couple of old dirt bikes. Excellent manouverability, not so great on stealth. They’ll know we’re coming.
  • we jumped the southern wall. We should have carved right through the reals but journo landed badly and had to fetch him #goodfornothing
  • Rounded up Reals from a village. Journo interviews them on camera. Reals confused by questions, expecting death. I search village for parts
  • Journo thinks Reals we filmed aren’t “Real enough” – wants to find more grotesque examples. We cull those we have and go looking 4 more.
  • He says he’s a perfectionist. That’s one word for it.
  • Rounded up another 4. Journo records interviews as best he can, though they bite and scratch at him. I work on the bikes in the gloom.
  • Heading back to Barricade. Journo isn’t speaking to me – wouldn’t let him film me culling the interviewees. Pleasure models = #good4nothing
  • Give the journo a quick firearms lesson so I have help breaking in. He shoots himself in foot and I have to carry him on my shoulders.
  • Had to dump bikes, but I was never really a fan. I’ll stick to 4×4.
  • Quite an effort getting through Real lines. Another ten or so culled. I toss journo over the wall then follow. Rest, then drag him to CullTV
  • Journo insists on me staying to watch programme cut together. Says it’s going to be a revolution in broadcasting. I prefer Real TV.
  • Journo introduces me to producer named Tlus. Says she might have a few fares for me soon. She’ll keep me in mind.
  • Rick calls me at Cull TV, says he’s thought about my cab trouble and worked up a budget solution. That doesn’t sound good.
  • At Ricks. Cab he’s offering barely runs. He has managed to awaken it using some worn parts and what looks like glue in places. #beggarscant
  • Planning on putting the cab through its paces. No fares, so thinking about doing a short burn cross country, maybe up into the Highlands.
  • A lot less Reals up there, and I’m told you can even climb above the cloud. #believeitwheniseeit
  • Cab broke down on way to barricade. Not a good start.
  • Back from a few days test driving. Spent more time under the hood than ideal, but all in all surprised at sturdiness of new cab.
  • Reals curiously absent on way back in. Lines only half-manned. A few were up in the hills, in caravans. Something religious?
  • Rick and I shake hands on the cab. Payments will last a while, but it’s good to be back behind a wheel. Bikes just aren’t my forte.
  • Shersult calls with a new fare. A lot of cargo evidently – will be travelling in convoy.
  • As always have to search length of barricade for Shersult to discuss fare. The moment I find him a mortar round drops right on his position.
  • He climbs down, blowing smoke from his burning lungs into rings. Typical flamboyant solider stuff.
  • Shersult’s needs more drivers for this expedition. I’ve been told to recruit, emphasising benefits of employment by Shersult Taxis.
  • Not sure what those benefits might be – few but pleasure model/journos are interested in what’s outside barricade. Will #thinkofsomething
  • Plan to start with out-of-work programmers and head down from there.
  • As I feared, general lack of interest from Edinburgh residents in signing up to the cabby’s life. Heading for Cull TV now. #leftwiththedregs
  • Signed up a couple of Cull TV crew with nothing better to do: one a Male model named Nuk, the other a producer named Tlus.
  • A little concerned about Nuk. He keeps checking his reflection. No time for that when pounding through the night cross country.
  • Convoy assembles in Rick’s garage. Looks like somebody chewed up a 2nd hand car dealership and spat it out here.
  • I inspect the wrecks fellow drivers will use. More rust than armor. No way we will get this lot through. Someone’s going on Real TV.
  • I give briefing to our new drivers on dos and don’ts of Barricade break-outs. Have feeling I may as well talk 2 trees but #nothingbettertodo
  • Shersult reveals destination as Liverpool. They’ve been getting a lot of Real attention and need resupply.
  • I have a Landy full of tinned peach slices to deliver. Quite a racket when I make a sharp turn. At least there’s no trailer this time.
  • Breaking out tonight. Fifteen vehicles in convoy – I figure we’ll be lucky to get ten through.
  • Only Tlus, Shersult and I got through. Others were chewed up by a new mine field the Reals had laid. 1 driver captured. Will #seehimontv
  • Not much of a convoy now but we press on anyway. #nothingbettertodo
  • Tlus is pretty good behind the wheel. Swerved to avoid pop-up Real ambush in road and kept a seriously top heavy vehicle on its wheels.
  • Stopped to make a few repairs. Easy enough to patch up my cab and Shersult’s, but have discovered Tlus’ chassis is #ninetypercentrust
  • Ominous glow from direction of Liverpool . Take a look through binoculars and see shadows dancing on rooftops. Shersult goes ahead to recon
  • S returns – says it will be tricky to get through but not impossible. Real scalps ring his belt. 
  • Reals surrounding Liverpool have APC. It can really shift. 1st time I’ve thought of trading in lightweight for armour – #butafortunetorun
  • Turned out trickier to get in than imagined. We lost one of the cabs. Now Shersult’s riding on Landy roof. We’ll try another angle.
  • Will go in along old railway line through St Michael’s station. Seems to be lightly invested. Never imagined my cab would be last standing.
  • Hurtling through darkness, Shersult calling out directions from above. Is all this really worth it for one Landy’s worth of supplies?
  • All seems a bit…symbolic.
  • S suddenly shot up – they must have seen his eyes. I halt cab in cover. S roars and jumps clear with #revengeinmind. To wait or not to wait?
  • Realised Shersult the only one in touch with Barricade, so had to go look for him. Found him cutting up corpses. He agreed to #getonwithit
  • Have to hand it to Reals: what kind of supermen can’t even deliver groceries without all this trouble? I’ll ask it again: #whereisControl?
  • The Reals have made their very own barricade – selection of wrecks tossed across the rail line. I steer us off tracks into hail of bullets.
  • Managed to sneak through flooded land and approach Barricade. Shersult calls in our approach. All this fuss + we’ve only a 5 crates to give
  • I think I have shrapnel in a lung. Can feel it rattling around. Will need operation or it will seal up. #isthereadoctorinthehouse?
  • Lying on gurney after operation. Smell of something fetid. Thump, thump of impacts overhead. Area deserted. Where’s Shersult?
  • We arrived at the time of a major assault. Spent all weekend helping to beat it back. General surprise at power and resolve of Reals.
  • Reals sprayed gas. It put enough of us out for long enough to get over wall, but they were beaten back. Shersult’s been having a great time.
  • Apparently Power 5 designed Liverpool bunker – strange layout, sacrifices so much functionality for style it might have been a Real design.
  • Finding it troublesome to make repairs. This town is out of everything – they’ve allowed local population to grow out of control.
  • Planning excursion to find parts – no choice or here for long term. Shersult would like that  -lots of killing to be done
  • I need tyres: 2 replacements + spare, plus a few other bits and pieces. Kitted up to go out on foot. S coming with me as #nothingbettertodo
  • The sooner I leave this place the better. The neighborhood has really gone down hill. They should evacuate the lot to Edinburgh.
  • Picking through old wrecks on the M57. Shersult  keeps watch, occasionally disappearing to collect another scalp.
  • He thinks Liverpool are in trouble as they’ve no soldier models. Neither of us can figure how that happened.
  • Spent yesterday re-fitting the Landy, it’s back in running order. I have a new fare too. A plumber model wants a lift to middle of nowhere.
  • #nothingbettertodo
  • S says he and Tlus will make their own way back to Edinburgh. Think they may prefer Liverpool – more work for both here.
  • Plumber named Booney. Gets into cab clutching bags, refuses to put them in the back. Typical fare.
  • Shersult puts on distraction at south perimeter while we sneak out to the north. Booney still won’t say why we’re going to the countryside
  • On the Snake Pass, through rolling, dead hills. Booney keeps his eye out, looking for some marker he thinks he’s left.
  • We’ve been digging all weekend. Booney still won’t tell me what it is we’re after. Still, very peaceful here. No Reals at all.
  • So Booney has found what’s he’s after. Biological weapon – possible cull device but Control thought too messy apparently.
  • Disguised as air freshener cans, like Reals used to conceal their stink. Booney was going to help distribute as cull device.
  • Control thought it too messy + ordered it destroyed. Booney would have followed orders, but changed mind when he saw nuke flash on horizon.
  • On way back to Liverpool. Booney keeps telling me to drive more carefully. Concerned about his luggage. #typicalfare
  • Booney waited until we were two minutes from the city to tell me his luggage is highly flammable. #typicalfare
  • peppered with gunfire as we cross an old military bridge. One of the cannisters hisses. Booney leaps into back and tosses it
  • Just in time to blow bridge and half our pursuers. I could have knocked down a tower block with that…
  • Re-enter town via a sewer entrance Booney knows. Rodents snap and claw as we pass. Nearly as big as the car. What are they feeding on?
  • Some debate among residents about use of Booney’s weapon. Some suggest waiting for a Control signal before moving. They’ll have a  #longwait
  • Shersult likes Booney weapon + organises strike. Residents obey, needing orders to follow. Nobody else needs ride so guess I’m joining party
  • We creep into Real camp, leaving the cans around the Real latrines. We sweep back to rendezvouz but someone missing. Booney’s not here.
  • I find him digging a new sewer for the Real camp. Try to explain there’ll be no need if his plan works as Reals will all be dead.
  • “That’s no excuse,” he says. This is his operation and he won’t leave at agreed time. #typicalfare
  • We sit on Barricade and listen, waiting for the sound of death. Nothing yet. “Not a sausage” as the boss used to say. #LunchTime
  • Nothing all yesterday. Shersult went recon and found all canisters gone. Reals seem to have collected them. Not like them to be so organised
  • Thick ash snow, blanketing the landscape. I meant to leave tonight but it’s waist deep. Reals are still silent, up to something.
  • Remember white snow?
  • Still quiet, snow falling. A little movement as Reals dig trenches. Booney’s weapon has not worked.
  • Huge explosion on southern wall, just as I’m prepping for trip home. Alarms and gunfire. Perfect moment to leave town.
  • Sadly I need boss’ OK to take off. I know where to find him. #followthescreaming
  • Looks like Reals used Booney’s weapon to blow a hole in the wall. Pouring in like CGI. I’ll have to help out.
  • Quite an intense day fighting pitched battles through streets. Reals eventually tired but never seen them so frenzied
  • Employed to work repairs on breach. Whole thing needs demolishing and rebuilding, but #whatdoesnt?
  • It is at least a worthwhile use of time. Besides, still no return fare and #nothingbettertodo
  • Shersult makes a few captured Reals help out with repairs. They make a complete mess of everything. #pointless
  • Shersult finally announces we can go. We’re ready to go but Tlus doesn’t turn up at agreed rendezvous. #typicalfare